Could those after-dinner sweets really hold the key to losing weight? Researchers seem to think so
Photo: Brett Stevens
The shelves are filled with festive treats tantalising our tastebuds, but if you want to keep in shape this Christmas you need to carry on walking, right? Well, perhaps not according to new research. It could all be down to when you eat them.
Researchers at Imperial College London believe that tucking into sugary foods at the start of a meal could help keep your appetite in check.
How? Well, a study showed that if a person's intake of glucose (found in desserts, chocolate and cakes) is too low, the brain will tell the body to look for more starchy and sugary foods.
In the first experiment, both normal and sugary foods were left out for rats to munch on. The animals ate a small amount of the sweet food and more of their normal grub. However, when scientists increased the amount of glucokinase (a protein in the brain which keeps track of how much glucose is eaten) in the rats’ brains, they ate the sweet food instead.
The second experiment showed that when the rats were starved for 24 hours, the glucokinase in their brains was more active.
But what does this mean for our puddings? Well, according to researcher Dr James Gardiner we should be tucking into glucose-rich foods at the start of the meal. This will stop overeating as our brains will determine that we've had enough glucose, apparenlty.
And the solution is an appealing one: eat your dessert first. If this is to be believed, Christmas really has come early.